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What is ACTA? Why Should You Care?
Jan. 30, 2012

What is ACTA? Why Should You Care?The technology community came out in force against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) before those two bills were shelved last week. With them gone, we can expect tech experts and Internet users to step away from politics. The battle has been won, right? Wrong. There’s another fight heating up, and this time it’s global.

Meet the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.

ACTA is an international treaty designed to protect intellectual property rights. The agreement was first created by the U.S. and Japan in 2006, and Australia, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea signed on last year. Whereas SOPA and PIPA were proposed bills in the U.S. House and Senate respectively, ACTA is a plurilateral treaty between the countries that sign on to the agreement.

SEE ALSO: 22 EU Countries Ratify ACTA | ACTA ‘Is More Dangerous Than SOPA’

One of ACTA’s primary goals is the prevention of copyright theft on the Internet. The treaty operates outside already existing international bodies, such as the United Nations (UN) or World Trade Organization (WTO). By signing on to the agreement, countries are agreeing to work with one another on issues of counterfeiting and copyright theft.

While SOPA and PIPA have been relegated to the dustbins of the U.S. Congress, ACTA is gaining life.

Read full article on Mashable.com

Facebook Sees Its First Live Theater Performance
Jan. 16, 2012

Facebook Sees Its First Live Theater PerformanceFacebook Sees Its First Live Theater PerformanceIf Facebook can host presidential debates and Twitter can host live concerts, why can’t theater appear on social media?

Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theater proved Facebook can be home to a live theater experience Monday, in what it calls Facebook’s first performance. Twitter saw its first performance last year with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet.

The German theater’s performance of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest premiered on the social network in a special adaptation for the “online Facebook stage,” Reuters reports.

“We were really pleased to try something new and innovative, and have learned a lot about how we can use the internet for our productions,” a spokesperson for the theater told Reuters, adding that the theater would consider using Facebook for future performances. “Facebook can’t replace the stage, but it offers some really interesting opportunities to perform theatre online.”

Status updates, shared photos and wall posts between characters were part of the interactive experience. Audience members voted for their favorite wedding dress option and contributed to a love letter exchanged between characters. Of course, there were periods during the show where Facebook chatter was discouraged. The performance narrator sent “silence in the theater, please,” messages, sort of like a virtual dimming of the lights.

Read the entire article on Mashable.com

5 Predictions for Online Data in 2012
Jan. 09, 2012

5 Predictions for Online Data in 20121. Personal data management matures into an industry. I’ll admit the prediction was largely a fail. Ambitious startups like Singly + The Locker Project got off the ground, but did not pick up steam. Many new, related startups are in the works, but none have even come close to the goal of managing one’s data the way he manages his health or wealth, for instance. An end-to-end platform may emerge, but it will take time.

2. The flood gates of corporate data open widely. This prediction has come close to being true. It certainly has become important to mine, parse and manifest corporate data for internal and external uses alike. The predominant question has indeed shifted from “Should I make my data open and available?” to “How can I do it best?” But at the same time, a lot of people are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how things develop.

3. Big data gets regulated. Facebook agreed to submit to independent privacy audits as part of its long-gestating FTC settlement. I’d argue that we’ll see more regulation in 2012. Congress has taken an active role, and the big Internet companies have only further increased their lobbying spend. Controversies surrounding Carrier IQ, Apple and SOPA have accelerated public interest.

Of course there’s good regulation and bad regulation. Anyone doing business in or with data is going to have to understand how government works, and play an active role.

4. The trend itself gets old and tired. Another outright fail. It is certainly true that everything is becoming, or has already become, data-driven, but we haven’t yet had the hangover I predicted. If anything, we’re full-steam ahead, and as ebullient and ambitious as ever.

This is good and bad — escalating investment of both human and real capital will spur innovation and speed up the inevitable. But the pace also makes us more vulnerable. Data for data’s sake, or data for self-justification is an ongoing risk.

5. Data scientists become the new community managers. I think it’s fair to say that this happened, by a large margin. Check out this chart from Indeed that chronicles the explosion of data scientist jobs. CMSWire explores the particulars in more detail.

Source: Mashable.com